Anthony Elanga hails a ‘dream come true’ after teenager nets Man United’s crucial equaliser against Atletico Madrid, as Ralf Rangnick takes aim at misfiring stars: ‘It’s fun to watch him play… I wish a few others would take him as an example’
- Anthony Elanga celebrated a dream night in the Champions League
- The 19-year-old raced clear to roll the ball the past goalkeeper Jan Oblak
- He had been on the pitch less than six minutes when he scored the equaliser
Anthony Elanga celebrated a dream night in the Champions League as Manchester United’s teenage substitute grabbed a crucial equaliser at Atletico Madrid.
Elanga was sent on by interim manager Ralf Rangnick to ‘scare’ the Spaniards and struck in the 80th minute with United’s first shot on target to snatch a 1-1 draw.
‘It’s a dream come true,’ said the 19-year-old Swede, who became United’s youngest ever scorer in the Champions League knockout stage.
Anthony Elanga celebrated a dream night in the Champions League on Tuesday night
‘I have dreamt of moments like this, scoring in the Champions League against top European teams like Atletico Madrid. I think it was my first touch too.
‘I told you how calm and cool I am. Whenever I am given an opportunity, I want to repay the manager and give 150 per cent every time I step onto the pitch.
‘I want to be the best player on the pitch and I appreciate the boss. He said to me to make the defenders scared and run in behind and when I get the opportunity to take it.’
Joao Felix headed Atletico in front in a first half that saw United fail to have a single touch in their opponents’ box.
The 19-year-old had been on the pitch less than six minutes when he scored the equaliser
Rangnick was upset with his team’s performance and vented his feelings at half-time. He suggested afterwards that United’s should follow Elanga’s example and play with more freedom of spirit.
‘I still cannot believe what we did in the first half,’ said the United boss. ‘We played without conviction and all the necessary aggression against the ball.
‘Obviously being 1-0 down after seven minutes, the plan was in the dustbin almost. Of course, I knew that this was not his best possible position.
‘He (Elanga) is playing as if for him a dream has come true. It is just joy and fun to watch him play, and I wish a few other players would take him as an example – almost a role model, I would say.
‘Not because he is doing everything right but he is just enjoying himself on the pitch.
The teenager was sent on by interim manager Ralf Rangnick to ‘scare’ the Spaniards
‘I told them this is not enough, that we have to show more energy. We didn’t talk about tactics, it was about conviction and believing in what you are doing. This is what I told them.
‘It is the Champions League. The club fought so hard to get into the Champions League last season and you have to show yourself.’
Atletico claimed the draw was unjustified with scorer Joao Felix admitting the evening felt ‘bittersweet’.
Teammate Jose Maria Gimenez added: ‘We are a little bit hurt because we deserved to win.
‘They had a stroke of luck and they scored the equaliser. I don’t think they deserved a draw. We played a really good game, and the draw was a little unfair to be honest.’
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